- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is targeting African-American voters as part of her first television ad buy in Tennessee.

The Clinton campaign said Thursday it is spending at least $100,000 on the spots running the Memphis and Nashville markets in advance of the state’s March 1 primary.

While Clinton easily won Tennessee’s Democratic primary in 2008, she lost to Barack Obama in the state’s two largest cities. She’s hoping to avoid a repeat of that result as she faces Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in this year’s primary.

The first ad running in Memphis addresses what Clinton in the ad calls the “fundamentally broken” criminal justice system that disproportionally targets African-Americans.

“We have to face up to the hard truth of injustice and systemic racism,” Clinton says in the ad.

Clinton made a direct appeal to black voters in a speech in New York earlier this week, saying she would give African-Americans their next ally in the White House. She suggested that black voters would find her proposals more far-reaching than Sanders’ warnings about economic inequality and the power of Wall Street.

The other spot running in both Nashville and Memphis highlights the former secretary of state’s record on issues including women’s rights, military benefits and health care.

“The presidency is the toughest job in the world, and she’s the one who will make a real difference for you,” the narrator says in the ad.

State Rep. Brenda Gilmore, an African-American Democrat from Nashville, wrote an opinion piece in The Tennessean newspaper Thursday in support of Clinton.

“Clinton believes we are long overdue to raise the minimum wage and get our incomes rising,” she said. “And I know that she’s the one with the focus, fight and experience to make real progress and get it done.”


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